In the state of Indiana, Habitual Traffic Offenders, also known as Habitual Traffic Violators, can lose their driving privileges for a sustained period. The law office of Banks & Brower understands that this can cause great hardship as the person is unable to drive themselves to and from work or their children to and from school.
Habitual Traffic Offender Designation
In order to be considered for designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender, a driver must have three judgments for major traffic violations within a ten-year period. Major traffic violations include:
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (DUI)
- Criminal recklessness with a motor vehicle
- Reckless driving
- Leaving the scene of an accident
Three violations from this list within a ten-year period may result in a suspension of driving privileges for ten years.
A driver who has ten traffic convictions in a ten-year time period, and at least one of the convictions is from the major violation list above, may have their driving privileges suspended for five years.
Habitual Traffic Offenders on the Road
If the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has deemed the person a habitual traffic offender and they are caught driving after their privileges have been suspended, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, a Level 5 felony or a Level 6 felony depending on the initial time period of the suspension. The suspension will also become a lifetime suspension if they are convicted of a Level 5 or 6 felony.
It is not uncommon for someone to have the habitual traffic offender status on their driving record without their knowledge. For the state of Indiana to successfully convict someone for driving a motor vehicle with habitual traffic offender status, it must be proven that the driver was properly notified of the suspension.
Extreme emergency can also be a plausible defense, if the offender had to drive a vehicle to save life or limb. This defense requires the defendant to provide proof to establish that this was the case.
It is important to have legal representation with expertise in this specific area of the law. For instance, the convictions that lead to the habitual violator designation must be during separate traffic stops. Two infractions at the same stop do not count as separate convictions for the purpose of HTV designation. Your attorney should check each item listed on your driving record for counting accuracy.
Specialized Driving Privileges
Habitual traffic offenders in Indiana may qualify for a program designed to give hardship permits to some people with suspended licenses. These hardship licenses are called Specialized Driving Privileges. If the court approves the petition for special driving privileges, it may be possible to drive under certain circumstances approved by the court. Common privileges include: driving to and from work, taking children to school or daycare, going to doctor’s appointments, or driving during certain time periods.
Even with a habitual traffic offender status and a lifetime suspension of driving privileges, there is still the possibility of having the suspension rescinded. Depending on your situation there may be a 10 year waiting period before a petition for reinstatement can be filed.
Hiring an Attorney
As former prosecutors, the attorneys at Banks & Brower LLC have a unique perspective that gives them the knowledge to mount a proactive defense for their clients. Their experience with the inner workings of the Habitual Traffic Violators court in Marion County will work in your favor. If you or someone you know has been designated a habitual traffic offender, contact us today so we can start working on your solution today.